Thursday, May 31, 2018

Intellectual Dark Web(site)

Behold: the actual resistance riseth.

Wednesday, May 30, 2018

Some "Trans Women" Don't "Identify" As Women

I posted this or something like it a long time ago.
   I don't like referring to it, because the arguments against "trans" ideology--e.g. the claim that "transwomen are women" are decisive without it. Furthermore: questions about how people "identify" are completely irrelevant to questions about what/who they actually are. Thinking so doesn't make it so. And thinking so doesn't make you so. The fact that some "trans" people don't buy into the mistake simply doesn't matter much. If you lean heavily on that fact, you're just buying into the mistake--you're supposing that people get the last word about who/what they are by fiat.
   However, the information in the piece is relevant if you don't have the kind of uptight scruples that I have about these arguments. Ad hominem: this information undermines transgender ideology by turning the bizarre arguments of the left against it.

Kathleen Stock: "Arguing About Feminism And Transgenderism: An Opinionated Guide For The Perplexed"

Whelp, this about covers it.
   Props to Stock for getting this out there--and I mean no offense when I say: this isn't hard philosophy. Almost all of the points are obvious. They're well-stated, and it takes guts to publish them under the prevailing conditions. But, in all honesty, there's little that's philosophically difficult in there. All this should have been said--a lot--as soon as transgender ideology burst onto the scene. It just makes no sense. It survives on arguments that competent graduate students should be able to dismantle.

Talia Mae Bettcher: "When Tables Speak"--Response To Stock On Transgenderism

This is so bad I can barely get through Part 1.
 I might go through it in some detail later, but, honestly, I just can't believe how bad this stuff is, and how much the philosophical left props it up. Stuff this bad would never survive in real areas of actual philosophy. I mean, there is bad epistemology--really, really bad epistemology. But a whole lot of the stuff is at least pretty good, and a fair amount of it is notably good. But once we start sliding toward issues that matter to leftist politics, things get ugly fast. And the "trans" stuff is just about as bad as it gets. A lot of it is jaw-droppingly bad. But it's a little weird because much of what's really awful about it is a feature, not a bug. For example, if real philosophy were going on, there'd be no question of mixing up questions like What is F? and What does 'F' mean? with (a)meliorative questions about what concepts or meanings it would be politically correct for us to use. But as things swerve leftward in philosophy...and especially as they swerve toward feminism and "trans" stuff...things start getting reeeally sloppy.
   Bettcher pretends that it's Stock who's proliferating questions. But it isn't. Mixing up descriptive and normative questions is one of the central tactics of people who want to prop up the leftist theory of transgenderism. And Bettcher's discussion runs true to form, immediately seeking to obfuscate via conflation. Here's a hint: focus on the descriptive question and stay focused on it: What makes a person a woman? Of course feminists have done a lot to obfuscate that question, too...but, in actual fact, it's pretty simple: a woman is an adult, female human being. Ergo males are not women. QED.
   Bettcher's next move is to name-drop a bunch of literature and pretend that Stock's discussion is defective because she hasn't read and cited it all...for an article in Medium, mind you. This is a well-known tactic for people on the losing end of an argument. Because there's always something that anyone hasn't read. But those defending trans ideology have raised it to an art form. Tuvel has read the literature...but recall that she was criticized for not having cited enough works by "trans" authors... Defenders of trans ideology will do just about anything to avoid discussion of the actual logic of their arguments--they must realize that their position is indefensible. It's not like that's difficult to see. Hell, even some defenders of the the view admit that the metaphysical position is a lost cause, and admit that they've got to switch the focus to questions of morality / politics / etiquette: the claim that (e.g.) Caitlyn Jenner is actually a woman is simply not true. The point then becomes to try to argue for conclusions like: we should try to do whatever we can to change the meaning of 'woman' so that we can convince people to speak in more politically correct ways.
   It's an embarrassment to philosophy that such shoddy arguments are tolerated. Philosophers would be climbing all over each other to shred arguments this shitty were they coming from the right. Instead, they remain guiltily silent, too pusillanimous to point out that the emperor has no clothes.

WTH That Roseanne Barr Thing???

I don't care about this sort of pop culture crap...but I saw the headlines everywhere, and I'm not wild about Valerie Jarrett, and I thought LOL here comes some more manufactured PC outrage via I looked it up and...WTF???????????
   Seriously what the hell...who writes things like that? I mean...even ignoring more important questions and focusing just on prudential is it that someone could think they were going to get away with saying something like that? And on this extremely public platform? How could anyone not understand that they are--rightly, of course...but I'm not even focusing on that part--going to get destroyed? Does Barr have some kind of mental problem? (I don't really know much of anything about her, honestly, beyond that weird thing with the national anthem that one time.) It's like deciding to push a button to make everybody hate you. Like randomly slapping a little kid on national tv or something. This really kinda gives me a headache it makes so little sense. Man, people are nuts.

Tuesday, May 29, 2018

"London Cyclists Too White, Male, and Middle Class, Says Capital's Cycling Chief in Bid to Tackle Diversity 'Problem'"

Is there anyone, honestly, who can't see how utterly moronic this is?

Identity and "Identity"

Your identity is who you are. However, on the popomo left, "identity" is now used, jargonistically, to mean, roughly: who you say you are.
   The PC left has long tended toward relativism, particularly social/cultural relativism. It has a general tendency to accept and promote social and cultural accounts over other types (e.g. rational, natural, biological, and theological accounts). It also (perhaps in part because of the popularity of existentialism on the intellectual left) has a tendency to insist that people have some sort of right to create themselves. But the PCL doesn't mean this in the sense that, say, I might actually forge a great poet out of the raw material of my current self. It means it, rather, in the sense that I have some alleged right to (a) call myself F, for, basically, any value of F...and even also, some alleged right to (d) be regarded as F by other people. PCL is rather cagier about some possibly intermediate steps. Perhaps (d) is supposed to follow directly/merely from (a). Or perhaps what really follows from (a) is that I have a right to (c) demand that others regard me as F. And perhaps that's because (b) as a matter of actual fact, I am F (because I call myself F). (Those lettered propositions don't actually fit together properly, grammatically speaking. But I'm not going to fix it, so there.)
   This is how views of this kind survive: they seldom/never quite say that we should forget about whether or not x is F, and care, instead, only whether it's said that x is F. And they never quite say otherwise--for example, they never quite say that there are no facts about x independently of what we say about it. And they never quite say that our saying so makes things so. Instead they offer up an incoherently, half-baked tangle of shitty arguments and shrieky accusations of badness against those who refuse to convert to their preferred story.
   This tangle of bad philosophy in the service of bad politics is why I think that this sector of the left is so dangerous.

tl;dr: The PC/SJ left thinks 1984 is an instruction manual.

A Response To Katherine Stock On Transgenderism

This response--by one L. Mollica--to Katherine Stock is crap.
   It's such crap that there's really no reason to dignify it with a response. The arguments are crap--and tired crap at that. It deploys the standard ad miseracordium at the heart of transgender ideology: if you question our theory, you hurt our feelings deny us our humanity/right to exist. That makes it easy to also deploy the standard ad hominem: you are an evil person for having denied us our humanity/right to exist. Mollica's essay is just a damn mess. Eh, let Mollica speak for himself:
This recent essay by Kathleen Stock (a “philosophical” discussion of how trans women can all go shut up please, see I said “please” aren’t I being polite and why oh why are you persecuting me? TiM!!) is a bunch of morally outrageous and intellectually inane drivel. On its own, this fact would not merit much comment: lots of TERF’s (trans exclusionary radical feminists) write lots of stupid things, lots of wicked things, and lots in the unhappy intersection of the two. Telling me I’m an awful disgrace and should be content masquerading as a man in a dress is sort of, like, what makes TERF’s TERF’s. Stock’s is not a particularly interesting example of this genre, and on its own it probably wouldn’t have attracted my attention.
Standard-issue, hysterical nonsense. Nobody's telling Mollica et al. to shut up. Arguing cogently that you are wrong is not at all the same as telling you to shut up. Stock's essay is a pretty nice piece of public philosophy. It's measured. It's calm. It's the real deal. Mollica's essay is an overwrought train wreck of sloppy quasi-arguments that consists largely of unsupportable claims to the effect that Stock is awful and her essay isn't really philosophy.
   I mean, Stock is wrong about several things--including, probably, that men representing themselves as women "deserve" "to be treated as if they are women in many social contexts." But at least she's actually aiming to engage with the issues rationally. Mollica doesn't even seem to be trying.
   That's basically par for the course in this discussion. 

One Should Either Write Ruthlessly What One Believes To Be The Truth Or Shut Up

That's Arthur Koestler, but where from I don't know. Quoted by Buckley in God and Man at Yale.

Monday, May 28, 2018

CNN Pretends That People on Twitter Are Pretending That Ivanka Trump Is "Tone Deaf" For Posting A Pic Of Her With Her Kid...Because...Oh...Who The Hell Knows?

Alright. In all seriousness...this may actually be the stupidest thing I've ever heard.

"Seven Signs Your Man's Masculinity Is Nontoxic"

You will get cancer from this and die.
Don't look at it.
['s satire...I think...]

Starbucks To End Racism on 5/29

Also link (h/t Critical Spirits)

"The Selfish Ledger: Google's Dystopian Vision Of Populace Control Through 'Total Data Collection'"

I'm not sure I get it.
I thought this was talking about selling stuff to people and collecting stuff like medical data. What am I missing?
The voice-over is creepy as shit, though.

Absolutely The Dumbest Thing You'll Read This Month: Jonathan Nightengale: "Some Garbage I Used To Believe About Equality"

If this were a parody, it would be brilliant.
Instead, it's one of the stupidest things I've ever read. It's a virtually non-stop cringefest.

Labels: , , ,

Jane Clare Jones: "'You Are Killing Me': On Hate Speech And Feminist Silencing"

This is, IMO, worth a read. Fair warning: it does contain a lot of more-or-less standard-issue left-of-liberal feminist nonsense. But that's ignorable. A lot of the fair points aren't new, but some of the stuff about the role of oppression/"oppression" in the argument is, I'd say, worthwhile. 
   I've made these points before, but:
(a) The good news is that more feminists are standing up against transgender ideology.
(b) The bad news is that those are basically the only socially permissible criticisms of TI. 
   But that's how things go on the left; it doesn't tolerate criticisms from the right--nor from no particular political direction. Only criticisms of the form You're not lefty enough are permitted. That's probably why there are so many counterproductivity arguments--they're a kind of noncomittal work-around. Your position harms the left is most naturally interpreted as: I agree with your ends, and only question your means
   As I keep asserting: t's a matter of great concern that such a crazy theory was forced onto us so easily and effectively. And it's another matter of great concern that the theory seems vulnerable only to criticism from the left. But, as a practical matter, we should take what we can get. I continue to think that this episode is of great importance, and worthy of a lot of much attention. It reveals an important social vulnerability--a crucial derangement of our contemporary collective mind. Not every crazy view of the left is vulnerable to criticism from the left. So long as we allow this weird dynamic to persist, the only thing saving us from such views will be luck.

Sunday, May 27, 2018

Mozilla Contra Meritocracy (Or 'Meritocracy')

So we're told that "This proposal does not seek to change how Mozilla is governed, only how we talk about how Mozilla is governed, which may be reasonably be regarded as contentious."
   Fucking nominalism. It's a derangement of the modern mind. It's not as deranged as relativism (or its crack-brained younger brother, social constructionism) which hold[s], even more insanely, that merely speaking differently can actually alter reality, of course. And stupid, merely nominal changes are generally better than stupid, actual changes. But one of the biggest problems in this radioactive swamp is the inability to really, clearly separate the real from the nominal--and keep them separated.

I Was Just Informed That The Cap On My Water Bottle Is An "Ergonomic Drink Interface"

Just thought you should know.

"The Post-Meritocracy Manifesto"

Jesus Christ this is weird.
Does anybody know what this is about? I mean, I realize that meritocracy and the term 'meritocracy' are doubleplus unPC...but WTH?

A Kind Of Interesting Thing On Race In Small-Town Ohio

The Post linked to this.
   My first impression is that it gives us a kind of snapshot of part of the race problem in the U.S. It starts with a description of an almost [expletive deleted]ing unbelievable crime against a kid that was obviously motivated by a pretty-damn-hard-to-even-get-your-head-around degree of racism. Four teenage perpetrators jumped out of their pickup and assaulted another teenager because he was Latino. They put a noose around his neck, dragged him down the street, beat him, and threatened to lynch him. For this, one of them got 10 days in jail. The others were never caught. Now... IANAL...but...isn't it true that, if the assailant that was identified had been threatened with a real sentence, he's also likely to have given up the names of the other assailants? This sentence just seems like utter madness to me...
   On the other hand, the activists (who sound like nice people) seem to have pushed for things like "implicit bias training" for teachers...which...also seems crazy to me. Not evil, like the other shit. But differently crazy. I don't see anything in the first story that indicates that implicit bias (among teachers, no less) is the problem. It's a case of overt, racially-motivated, assault and battery. What the hell good is it going to do to force a bunch of teachers--already mostly bleeding-heart liberals--into (pseudoscientific, incidentally) implicit bias training? TRACK DOWN THE DAMN ATTACKERS AND PUT THEIR ASSES IN JAIL FOR A LONG-ASS TIME. Isn't that a more direct and promising solution?
   Anyway. As nice and dedicated as the activists sound, PC pseudoscience isn't going to solve this kind of extremely straightforward legal problem. Re-education camp for the most liberal segment of the population isn't going to fix something that can only be fixed in very direct ways like isolating the psychopaths from the population and establishing incentives that will deter other psychopaths from doing something similar.
   But...mostly I just want to kick those guys asses who did the noose thing. WTF, man. I don't even.

[Well, if I'd done two seconds of Googling ahead of time, I'd have discovered that all the stuff about the noose and death threats is disputed by some of the witnesses, and wasn't mentioned at first by the victim. Nevertheless, there's still racial assholery aplenty afoot.]

Ross Douthat: "Free Speech Will Not Save Us"

I've only read this once, but I thought it was pretty damn good.
   I doubt that anyone explicitly thinks that free speech is a sufficient condition for solving the relevant problems...but they also may not have explicitly recognized that it's more like a mere necessary condition.
   Also it's good to articulate the point (IMO) that First Amendment protections alone aren't enough. We would be better off with a broader conception of free expression that would prevent people from having their lives ruined for falling afoul of this or that sacred opinion on one side or the other.
   Anyway, I liked the column--though a more accurate title would be: Free Speech Alone Is Unlikely To Save Us.

Diet Soda Pseudoscience Debunked

With great being-right-all-the-time comes great responsibility-to-ridicule-people-who-were-wrong...
   I mean, that the diet-soda-emulates-real-soda case really is some confirmation for my hypothesis (read: shooting my keyboard off about) that nutrition "science" tends to follow the whims of the upper-middle class arbiters of culture... I mean, the real driver here is that soda is gauche. In fact, diet soda may be even gaucher than real soda. Y'know...unless it's some kind of obscure...I dunno...artisanal rosemary-infused "effervescent beverage" sweetened with beet extract or some shit.
   I also don't believe that soda is the devil, incidentally, nor, more generally, that sugar is the devil, nor, more generally, that carbs are the devil. Though I'm less certain about each step that broadens the thesis. I gotta right mind to go drink a Nuclear Super Big Gulp RIGHT NOW AND I WILL DO IT DON'T THINK I WON'T
   And I'm actually somewhat serious about this nutrition "science" / arbiters-of-culture thing. Not, y'know, super serious...but somewhat so.
   It's too hermeneutics-of-suspicion-y to really take seriously, obviously. Argument about such things at the level of motives is largely stupid.
   Recent counter-evidence to my loony conjecture: the new jihad against booze...which is now apparently about as good for you as plutonium. There's just no way to make that fit, especially in the face of whiskey chic (or have we moved onto something else now? I'm sure we have...) and the brewery-and-distillery explosion. (I even saw somebody trying to revive the red-wine-is-the-fountain-of-youth thing the other day.) It would be interesting to see what would happen if the beer-and-whiskey fad were to collide with a sustained push to prove that booze is deadly poison...

Friday, May 25, 2018

Farrakhan + Trump

Oh come on. This is just getting ridiculous. Add Ollie North and Judith Butler and you've basically got my analog of Hydra.

Thursday, May 24, 2018

Drum: Liberals Shouldn't Be Defending MS-13 Just Because Trump Doesn't Like Them

   I'm well aware that it's not everyone on the left...just almost everyone who's [many people who are] visible on the left.
   Drum writes:
This kind of stuff does nothing but waste our own time, make other people think we’re nuts, and give Trump terrific ammunition to use against us. How about if we dial down the political lens on every last thing and just agree that MS-13 is a bunch of very bad folks? They are, you know.
   He's right...but, honestly, it's this kind of stuff that's alienating me from the left. None of these reasons for not defending MS-13 is to the point. The important thing is: doing things like defending MS-13 makes liberalism/progressivism crazy. I don't mean it drives them crazy. I mean it constitutes their craziness. The left has largely flipped its shit. Yes, there's some truth in the claim that it's really just the vocal vanguard of the left that's flipped its shit... However, if rank-and-file left-of-center types weren't putting up with it, the vanguard wouldn't be doing it. Niceties aside: a fair bit of the left has so flipped its shit that it prefers MS-13 to Trump.
   And have I ever mentioned how I f*cking hate counterproductivity arguments??? What matters is that the left has flipped its shit. It matters waaaay less that this helps Trump, wastes time, etc. And stop worrying about how it makes you look crazy; worry about how it makes you be crazy.
   Again I assert: 
   [1] You can oppose the excesses of the right without going to equal and opposite crazy extremes
   [2]  Trump is awful; there's no need to make shit up about him.
   That latter point is really about the tedious "dog whistle" argument. Argumentum canis sibilis is last-ditch, unfalsifiable ad hoc hypothesis the left invokes when it wants to bitch about someone on the right, but they haven't actually said anything wrong. First it was: Trump says all illegal immigrants are animals!!!!!!!!!!!!1111 What nonsense. Trump's views are pretty well-known. He's not exactly known for keeping his cards close to his vest. He in no way believes that all illegals are "animals." He might very well have a low opinion of them. And he might very well be a racist who believes racist things about Hispanics. Or he might not. But you have to be blinded by partisanship to think that he thinks--or that he said--that all illegal immigrants are animals. He certainly didn't say it--and the odds that he believes it are very, very low.
   [Oops...didn't finish the thought:
Though some are still insisting that Trump said something he didn't say, others give up on that...but then fall back to the "dog whistle" argument: he didn't say the bad thing...but he suggested it. And it was a super-secret racist signal to the ravening hoards of the racist right.
   It's not that such things never happen. It's, rather, that they happen a whole lot less than progressives insist they do. The left seems to have become addicted to a kind of pseudoscientific conspiracy theory about all the phenomena it hates. Objective evidence indicates that racism is a lot less prevalent than they think.'s "systemic" or "structural." The bias is implicit! The messages are "dog whistles!"
   Racism is bad. (Why does that have to be said?) It's good to watch out for it. But it's not good to make it up. Racism has become like Satan to the left--it's everywhere...but undetectably so. At some point you need to at least consider the hypothesis that what you can't actually find actually isn't there.]
   Anyway. Though Drum is largely right, he's also importantly wrong.

CA School Disciplines Kid For "Misgendering" Other Kid

   In brief: (all allegedly): First-grade boy decides he wants to be a girl. A "transitioning" ceremony may or may not have been held for him by the teacher. First-grade girl (rightly, obviously) called him a boy or 'he' or whatever; girl gets sent to principal's office for "misgendering."
   Hey um...remember when it was kids who believed in fairy tales, and adults who didn't?

Larison: Bolton Sabotages NK Nuke Summit; Maybe That's Not A Bad Thing

Wednesday, May 23, 2018

Why Are There No Public / Academic Arguments For The Standard View of Transgenderism?

This, by Kathleen Stock, is pretty good.
It raises an issue that I've meant to discuss here for quite awhile...maybe I have discussed it. I'm not sure. It's certainly implicit in at least some stuff I've said. It's this:
   Why are there no public defenses of the standard, common-sense view of transgenderism?
   To explain the point as briefly as possible: the vast majority of people don't believe that (to use a well-known example) Caitlyn (nee Bruce) Jenner is a woman. At least a very large percentage of academicians don't believe that Jenner is a woman. A majority of philosophers don't believe that Jenner is a woman. And yet no one will say that in print or in public.
Read more »

Larry Correia Gets A Right Good Social Justicing

Part of the problem is that this sort of insanity is just part of the culture now. Sci-fi is absolutely (as we'd say back home) et up with it.
   You don't have to know much about Larry Correia to tell that he's no *ist. (I'm not going to list all the trendy versions of -ism the left is on about; it just takes up too much room.) I've read three or four of his books, and a couple of his blog posts. That dude just seems flat-out WYSIWYG. And what you see is: he's just a dude who writes books about shooting monsters. There's no pretense to him that I can detect. He's the target of PC shrieking because he doesn't buy into the crazy left's craziness. He's a libertarian of some kind who, very obviously, just doesn't give a damn what you look like, who your parents were, or who you boink. I'm on those same pages with him, obviously.
Read more »

RIP Philip Roth

Tuesday, May 22, 2018

Andrew Dodson, Driven To Suicide By The Ctrl-Left For Participating In the C'ville "Unite The Right" Rally

   Andrew Dodson was an attendee of that march, where he was pepper sprayed directly in the eyes. Online footage shows him screaming out in what looks like excruciating pain. Afterwards, he is seen telling his attackers “I forgive you. I love you”, which is met with laughter and cries of ‘LOSER’ from his political adversaries as he walks away.
   Andrew Dodson, from everything I’ve managed to gather and watch of him, seemed to be a good man. He forgave his political adversaries, he was introspective, he took responsibility for himself and wanted desperately to engage in dialogue and make a positive impact on the world. When Trump said there were ‘very fine people on both sides’, I believe Andrew was one of them.
   He also was not alt-right. But even if he was, his death was not justified.
   Is this the ‘pure form’ of the far-left? Do the ‘moderates’ watch in silent approval as the ‘radicals’ carry out their bidding? Removing the opponents right to a private life, familial ties, employment and, ultimately, their right to life itself? I think I know the answer but I can’t quite bring myself to type it. Instead I will leave you with a quote from Andrew. His death should serve as a warning beacon to us. All of us.

The Dumbest Thing About PC You'll Read This Week: Rebecca Bratton Weiss Edition

Wow that's bad and stupid. Bad. Stupid. Stupid bad.
Eh, I suppose if these people could think clearly they wouldn't be defending political correctness. Still, it never ceases to amaze me how shitty these attempted defenses of the thing are. Shitty is one thing...but relentlessly's a whole 'nother thing.
I mean jeez, you'd think that if this were the best you could come up with it might make you rethink your position...wouldn't you?
I'm not going to refute this crap in detail. Or at least I'm going to try to resist the urge. Summer's here, and I've gotta get cracking on the stuff I actually get paid to write.

Dennis Prager vs. E. J. Dionne on Calling People Animals

Prager is right. Dionne is wrong. There's no question about it.
   Dionne is somebody I've, for many years, thought of as being on basically the right side. Prager is somebody I've, for many years, thought of as being basically on the wrong side. When the left has one of its spasms, you can expect to see otherwise fairly reasonable people start to make arguments that make no sense whatsoever--arguments that they'd never make under different conditions. Dionne, though intellectually rather a lightweight, obviously knows better than to write the things he wrote in that op-ed. Had Obama called MS-13 animals, Dionne would likely have cheered. His (and other progressives') sudden realization that calling people animals is the height of moral criminality is entirely grounded in the fact that it was Trump who made the relevant claim. Well...not entirely. They'd have cheered if he'd have claimed that everyone at the C'ville rally was an animal; they flipped their shit when he, in essence, said that some attendees weren't. The contemporary Klan is, of course, not in the same league as MS-13. But witness the differential treatment those two groups receive from the vanguard of the left.
   Anyway: it's perfectly fine to call bestial people animals. In fact, it's nearly obligatory to do so. Prager's right, Dionne's wrong.

Pronoun Creep: The Left Keeps Finding New Ways To Extend Its Pronoun Diktats

I hope nobody thinks that the left is going to be happy with mere informal, social control over our language-use--pronouns in particular. The logic of the left--or so it now seems to me--is to push toward ever-more-radical positions. And that includes: toward more overt, direct, and effective means of enforcement, including the law. Here's Volokh on the ABA's new rule that seems to mandate incorrect pronoun use by lawyers even during non-professional social activities and Bar Association activities.
Read more »

Monday, May 21, 2018

He Ain't Heavy

Dat mofo is some sharp sheet. Those canards make a big-ass difference.
That's a badass, sexy-ass plane, ya frogs.

Australia Considering Ban On Kid's Books That Include The Words 'Boy' And 'Girl'?

There's almost nothing Trump could do--short of whimsically starting a nuclear war--that could be as consequential as this kind of radical, cultural re-engineering bull. shit.
   I'm completely down with people thumbing their noses at the social enforcement of gender norms. Or any other such thing. I mean...fuck off with that weak shit, homes. People don't have to act like you want just because it's old.
   But this kind of attempt by halfwit, pseudo-or-semi-intellectual bureaucrats to re-engineer fundamental social conventions on the basis of fleeting fads that flit through what passes for the mind of the left...this is dangerous shit, my dudes. Very, very, very dangerous and fucked-up shit. If it comes down to the traditionalism of conservatives or the radical leftist revaluation of all better damn hope that the conservatives win. Because they are about 1/100th as insane as the lefties. And I have almost no sympathy for the right on this score.

According To Trumpistas, Mueller Has Concluded No Russian Collusion, Moved On To Obstruction, Hopes To Finish By 9/1/18

My relevant, half-assed predictions:
    Trump impeached by midterms: laughably wrong.
     No collusion: possibly right.
     Totally obstruction: ????

Goldberg Was Wrong About Peterson Wanting To Outlaw Makeup In The Workplace...But It Maybe Wasn't Her Fault

It seems that Vice (or somebody) cut the interview to give a false impression of Peterson's view, and Goldberg may very well have seen the misleading version.
Here's a part of the uncut version, in which he unequivocally rejects the view Goldberg attributed to him.

Trump (?): "People Will Just Believe You; You Just Tell Them And They Believe You"

This is worth a read.*
   Money (alleged) Trump quote, with reference to lying about his t.v. ratings:
People will just believe you; you just tell them and they believe you.
   This alleged quote sounds exactly like something Trump would say--in both form and content. And it's in keeping with the other things he was saying at the same event: he just does what he wants, and gets away with it. ("I just start kissing them;" "grab 'em by the pussy.") Anyone who actually does such things deserves a right good ass-kicking. Obviously.
   Compare this to the bullshit about "animals" and MS-13, or "all Mexicans are rapists," or the allegations that he claimed that the two sides in Charlottesville were morally equivalent. The stuff reported by Bush is substantial and largely verifiable. It's very likely true. I mean, we know he claimed to sexually assault women. And we nearly know that he actually did it--like Bush, I don't have much doubt that the allegations against him are true.
   We also know that he's a monumental bullshitter and liar. We know this. Given that knowledge, it kinda doesn't matter that he seems to have admitted it. But, still and all, I'd bet money that he did.
[Via Kevin Drum]

*Despite its references to "gender experts" and God...two equally fictional beings, IMO. Well...Rebecca Riley-Cooper is an exception. She's an actual expert--she isn't spewing popomo talking points, nor advancing a brainless, anti-rational, political agenda.

Dionne: "No One Is An Animal"

Counterpoint: everyone is an animal.*

Read more »

Sunday, May 20, 2018

Jay Cost: "Taming The Imperial Presidency"

Testify, brother.

Support For Secession By State

Y'all crazy.
Though...California...that one's not really such a terrible idea when you think about it. I'm not saying you guys should secede...I'm just saying that if you do, don't let the screen door hit your ass on the way out.
But, seriously, WTF is, like, Illinois thinking?

Infinity War

Finally saw it. How do you not like it, with basically the whole Marvel Cinematic Universe in it?
Way too much Guardians of the Galaxy, though.
I still haven't seen Black Panther, but I thought that the Wakanda scenes in IW were freaking great.

Munk Debate: Political Correctness (Peterson/Fry vs. Goldberg/Dyson)

Hard to tell, given my evangelical anti-PCism, but it seemed to me that Peterson/Fry wiped the floor with Goldberg/Dyson. According to before-and-after polls they changed a lot of minds...though I'm not sure how seriously to take those things.
   Dyson was just awful--he was basically the only representative of a fairly robust variety of PC. He's a bullshitter who went right for a racial ad hominem. Honestly, I can't remember him saying a single coherent thing. The preacherly cadence got old fast.
Read more »

Jordan Peterson Explains The "Enforced Monogamy" Thing

I thought this was pretty obviously what he meant.
Peterson: "My critics’ abject ignorance of the relevant literature does not equate to evidence of my totalitarian or misogynist leanings."

Libby Schaaf: "No, Mr. President, I Am Not Obstructing Justice"

Absolutely nothing in this piece in any way supports the claim that Schaaf did not obstruct justice.
My favorite bit:
under the Trump administration, undocumented residents are vilified as “dangerous criminals” or, as of last week — simply “animals.”
First, we've got the introduction of yet another advance in the march of progressive euphemisms: "undocumented residents." (In ten years or so, I expect the PC term to be "the only true Americans.") Then we get the intentionally-distorted 'animals' claim again.
   But most importantly: no argument whatsoever against the obstruction charge. I'm not a lawyer, obviously. For all I know the obstruction charge is easily-answered or even absurd. But nothing in this piece refutes the charge in any way.

Progressive Pseudoscience: "Why It Matters When The President Calls People, Even Violent Gang-Members, 'Animals'"

My God...does anybody actually believe this sort of nonsense? It has the stink of junk science all over it. Would anyone actually bet money that these results are replicable? I'd say wake me when there's a metastudy...but this sort of thing will never make it to that stage.

Saturday, May 19, 2018

George Will: Free Speech On Campus And Speech First vs. Michigan

Will is on fire.

Oh...uh...but remember...there's no free speech problem on campuses...

Friday, May 18, 2018

The Gell-Mann Amnesia Effect


How Long Until Trump Leaves Office?

"Transgendered" Dude Sues Spa Because Muslim Woman Refuses to Wax His Junk

Oh, Canada...
   Hmmm....the outcome here is likely to turn on who it is that's higher in the "progressive stack" it: (a) a dude pretending to believe that he is a woman? Or (b) an actual Muslim woman?
   I'm gonna guess (a). Transgenderism seems to be job 1 on the left right now. They've been almost unbelievably successful; they don't want to blink now. Their success depends largely on projecting the illusion of total confidence. If the sheeple are given any inkling that there might be room to question the eternal and unquestionable verity that some men are women, the whole house of cards could come crashing down. I mean, hell, when you've got even The Daily Wire saying that this person is "a transgender woman," you've basically won a complete victory.
   So, anyway, that's my guess: "transgender" dudes beat Muslim women in this heat of the victimolympics.
   (And, of course, in actual fact: the Muslim woman is in the right here--as is the business she works for. She's just tryna do her job. There's not a damn thing wrong with saying that you'll rip the hair off of women's crotches, but not men's.)

"Peaceful Human Waves" Of Palestinians Aim To Breach Fence Into Israel

I have to say, "peaceful human waves" is not a phrase that is really resonating with me.

Rolling Stone: "They're All MS-13 To Trump"

The Palestinians also get in there somehow...
Here's just one paragraph:
The central debate about whom Trump was truly describing was largely pointless. Whether or not he was referring directly to MS-13 with the word "animals," as he and his defenders insist – or to undocumented immigrants generally, using the gang as a placeholder – is beside the point. He chose to make that distinction the subject of his latest rage tweet Friday morning. Bigotry requires that the enemy be made out to be less than human, and Trump has long made use of blurry lines to criminalize entire groups of people. The president's alienating language about undocumented immigrants further served to make them targets for discrimination and violence, whether or not they are violent. And for those who are, robbing them of their humanity does not help reform them. The cop or the federal agent, following the president's lead, may think she or he is honoring the rest of us when classifying certain people as "animals." Perhaps they think it makes it easier to imprison or kill them. But it does us no favors as a society to pretend as though human beings are not capable of the very worst that we can imagine. Such talk is the stuff of genocide, not government.
To recap: 
It doesn't matter whether Trump said (a) members of MS-13 are animals or (b) all illegal immigrants are animals. Because either way, he's a bigot and intended to make someone out to be inhuman and to criminalize some group of people. Again: whether it was MS-13 or all illegal immigrants: not relevant. One way or another, he's trying to make all illegal immigrants targets for discrimination and violence. Even violent members of MS-13 who torture whole families to death should not be "robbed of their humanity" by the horrible, horrible crime of being metaphorically referred to as animals. I mean, that won't reform them, right? And what other goal could there be? Truth, obviously, doesn't matter. What if the police think Trump is telling them to kill all illegal immigrants, huh? Also, by calling them animals, Trump is pretending that humans can't be bad! But what about the Nazis? Once again, Trump is saying that Nazis are the best people ever. Which is racist, mostly because they were white. Bottom line: genocide.
Lemme try this once again:
You can criticize Trump without being a f*cking moron about it. 

Big Brother is Listening To Your Hatetunes

Eh, why waste time trying to say this in any other way: the left is against free expression.

   And the SPLC? Seriously? The fact that I even remember when the SPLC was a serious organization makes me feel old. And um...everybody out there is ok with GLAAD telling you what you get to listen to?
   Also: note how this is limited to "hate" directed against components of the progressive stack, as usual. It's not hate they're against. It's inconsistency with progressivism. Even casual words incite violence and/or constitute it don't try to make us distinguish those two things you fascist with your white Western straight male logic. And violence is only violence if it's directed at progressive-approved groups because violence isn't violence only violence + privilege = violence.
   Remember: only Nazis support the first two amendments, Nazi.
This is Moral Majority / Tipper Gore 2.0. But this time it's coming from the left, and so has the collective weight of our cultural overseers behind it.
   When such bullshit comes from the right, opposition and ridicule are obligatory; when from the left, they are, of course, forbidden.


Those headlines were everywhere.
They're still everywhere.
I didn't bite, as you might note.
This was "All Mexicans Are Rapists" 2.0, and I'd have bet big money on that even without hearing what he'd actually said. If you wouldn't have...well...
"Our indecent president calls people seeking refuge ‘animals.’ It's hate speech."
"In reference to ‘animals,’ Trump evokes an ugly history of dehumanization"(Note that, in its eagerness to bash Trump, the WaPo can't even write its misleading headlines worth a damn anymore. English, jeez, it's a thing...)
"Trump Refers To Immigrants As Animals. Again." (Huffpo... It's cheating, but there I did it. There are plenty of others to choose from, though.)
   So...I didn't know what he'd said...but I knew that he didn't say that all illegal immigrants are animals. The NYT grudgingly retracts its previous comments with this headline:
"Trump Defends 'Animals' Remark, Saying It Referred To MS-13 Gang Members"
(my emphasis).
   Again, I say: In a little over two years, Trump will be gone. The media (and the rest of our crack-brained cultural superstructure) isn't going anywhere anytime soon. I'm not urging anybody to compare degrees of awfulness here. I'm saying: ignore Trump just for a few seconds. Spare a thought or two for the shameless bias and irrationality of the mainstream media. (Not to mention the train wreck of the secondary-, tertiary-, and quaternary-stream media like HuffLOLPost.)
   I mean, this is a perfectly clear case, with a determinate answer, in which the anti-Trump claims are absurd on their face, not coherent with the actual evidence, and can be easily falsified. And the media can't even control itself in cases like this.
   Also: y'know...'animals' is a perfectly fair and reasonable characterization of MS-13. Some people are denying even that

Thursday, May 17, 2018

Progressives Contra Free Speech: "Is The First Amendment Too Broad?"

One Noah Berlatsky and a couple of critical race theorists argue that we'd be better off without that pesky First Amendment.
Progressives have stopped flirting with Big Brother and have moved straight to heavy petting.

(Incidentally: does anybody know of anything in critical race theory that isn't utter bullshit?)

Wednesday, May 16, 2018

Gerard Alexander: "Liberals, You're Not As Smart As You Think You Are"

Jeez, ya think?
   Anybody who needs to be told this simply isn't that bright. I mean, Christ, how much more obvious could it be? Alexander is pretty much right about pretty much all of this...though I'd quibble with the following:
It doesn’t help that our cultural mores are changing rapidly, and we rarely stop to consider this. Some liberals have gotten far out ahead of their fellow Americans but are nonetheless quick to criticize those who haven’t caught up with them.
"Liberals" (I'd say progressives...) aren't out ahead of the rest of us. Or not reliably, anyway. They just go somewhere else...and call wherever they went "ahead." "Progress" is whatever they more-or-less arbitrarily decide to accept. Sometimes that turns out to be actual progress--liberals were ahead of conservatives with respect to the treatment of homosexuals, for example. Other times, they move off in a random, sideways direction, as they've done in the case of transgenderism. Often, they've moved backwards, as in the case of free speech. Other times they'll make a move in the right direction...only to blow it by going to crazy extremes, as with Title IX madness.
  Only occasionally right...but never in doubt...

Gaza Protests: Did Israel Use Excessive Force?

I don't understand the Israel / Palestine situation. But my initial reaction seems to be at odds with that of just about everyone else--which, of course, means that I'm probably wrong. But it seems to me that force is justified if people try to storm your border en masse--even if they're unarmed.
   Anyway, here's a very generic thing from the BBC suggesting that it's at least a somewhat open question.

"The Liberal Delusion Of #Resistance Genealogy"

Um...well...this is delusional, alright...but not for the reason the author thinks.  It's delusional because it's a big, fat tu quoque. Finding out that my great-great-aunt was a notorious horse thief gives me no reason whatsoever to believe that horse-thieving is a noble profession.
   Oh, and: being against illegal immigration isn't racist...but there's really not much sense in paying any attention to progressive accusations of racism anymore. They're just the background music of contemporary political conversation. If you're white, you're racist. If you disagree with progressivism, you're racist. If you are white and disagree with contemporary progressivism, you're, like DOUBLE RACIST or something.
   But anyway: "resistance genealogy" isn't ineffective because its targets are racist; it's ineffective because its arguments are fallacious. The author quotes Peter Brimelow refuting her central point--and the central point of "resistance" genealogy...but she's so blinded by the left's obsession with racism that she can't seem to appreciate the point:
What about the idea that Americans who benefited from immigration in the past should not “pull up the ladder” after themselves—that they should, knowing their family’s history of struggle and success, give others the chance their ancestors were accorded? Liberals, animated by a sense of fairness, can’t believe that somebody descended from Italian peasants can live with the idea of excluding Syrian refugees today. But what looks like the most galling hypocrisy to liberals seems, to immigration hawks, like self-protective common sense. In one passage, Brimelow mocked the core of the very argument animating #ResistanceGenealogy: “How can X be against immigration when the nativists wanted to keep his own great-grandfather out?” This concept is illogical, Brimelow writes: “This, of course, is like arguing that a passenger already on board the lifeboat should refrain from pointing out that taking on more will cause it to capsize.”
Brimelow's absolutely right. Onion & co. are absolutely wrong. The point isn't in any way difficult to understand...if you're not blinded by ideology...

Smearing Jordan Peterson

The Far Left Is Winning The Democratic Civil War

Who's Actually At Fault For the Refugee Crisis?

This seems pretty reasonable to me, but I have no feel for what's going on over there. This three arrows fellow goes off the rails when philosophical questions arise...but he seems pretty reasonable about the rather more straightforward stuff he addresses in this video.

More Conference Pronoun Stickers

If you can't see why this is nonsense, there's nothing I can do to help.

[link fixed ARE YOU HAPPY JEDBURGH???]

PC "Research": "Pussy Grabs Back"

"Pussy grabs back: bestialized sexual politics and intersectional failure in protest posters for the 2017 women’s march"
(via New Real Peer Review)

Speech First vs. The University of Michigan

During the paleo-PC days, the University of Michigan was a hotbed of illiberalism, and that seems to be happening again now.
   Speech First is a new group out there fighting the good fight.

Ronald K. L. Collins: The Liberal Flight From The First Amendment

Monday, May 14, 2018


"HOLY SHIT" say some people who read what SCIENTISTS SAY  is possible in this one paper in this one journal you never heard of before.

If you're thinking "Shiiiiiit...this is just some crackpot parsimony argument," then all I have to say is Ph'nglui mglw'nafh Cthulhu R'lyeh wgah'nagl fhtagn, M*THER F*CKER you know what's comin' next oh yeah you do oh man I probably shouldn't have read all that Necronomicon this morning..

The Return of Yucca Mountain?

Holy crap, I thought the Yucca mountain project was dead for good.
It always sounded like just about the best idea we had, so I never really understood why it was abandoned. But honestly I only know the basics about it.

Has Mueller's Investigation Crossed A Legal Line?

Larison: Bolton's Push For Regime Change In Iraq (?)

8-Year-Old Undergoes Hormone Treatment To "Transition" To A "Girl" in CA; In Other News: Conversion Therapy Is Horrible And Illegal

   This poor kid. Unsurprisingly, he has other problems as well.
   Oh and: what a surprise: he has lesbian parents...and they live in Berkeley! Total coincidences!
   Oh and: conversion therapy for sexual orientation is illegal in California and like ten other states.
   This is a great (and terrible) example of the contemporary double standard: mere therapy--merely talking to a kid about changing his sexual orientation in the politically incorrect direction is illegal. And it may soon be illegal to even publish anything about it. Pumping the kid full of hormones in a not-completely-reversible physical intervention is perfectly fine and the very height of political correctness.
   I'm not in favor of either of these things--but if we were to have only one of them, obviously conversion therapy is by far the less inherently insane of the two. Sexual orientation is to some extent plastic in at least some people, and those who are straighter rather than less so are likely to have an easier life. I say leave people's sexual desires alone (within reason). But that's not really relevant here. What's relevant is: this is approximately the most insane double standard imaginable. I think it's the most perfect snapshot of the insanity of our little historical niche I've seen.

Is Pluto A Planet?

   Seems like a borderline case of a planet, to me. Perhaps more planet than not. But there's really nothing very interesting about it, and not a lot more to say about it. (IMO) The natural world is full of continuities and borderline cases. Per Peirce, that's just the way real classes tend to be. Contra nominalists, social constructivists, etc., blurry boundaries aren't a sign of made-up groupings. Rather, sharp boundaries are more likely to be a sign of something made up. There's a real difference between a juvenile human and a mature human, but the transition from the former to the latter is gradual. But for legal purposes, it happens in clear, sharp stages: once at midnight on your 18th birthday, once at midnight on your 21st birthday. (In some cases, there are one or two other quantum leaps forward.) Nobody thinks that any kind of real transformations overtake people between 11:59:59 p.m. and 12:00:01 a.m. on those dates.

Alice Dreger Sort Of Gets It

As I've said, I think that "intellectual dark web" is a goofy name for it. Absolutely. But that's irrelevant to everything substantial. I certainly understand why one wouldn't want to take goofy photos (e.g.: standing in cattails) for the goofy press. (And the NYT and the Chronicle are largely on the goofy / converged side of things.) So I understand Dreger's amused annoyance.
   But she's absolutely wrong that there's nothing important to do beyond research. Galileo's Middle Finger was a reasonably important book, and it wasn't what you'd call "serious academic research." It was a popular book--a popular book that should help clear up some important things about the left's neo-Lysenkoist interference with science. For however many people read it.
   Anyway, I've always thought that Dreger only kind of gets it, actually. She seems to largely understand the left's interference with science on behalf of transgender ideology...and she seems way smart enough and a way good enough philosopher to recognize the theory's obvious 2+2=5s. But she seems to have ideological commitments that prevent her from calling bullshit on the whole mess. By which I mean: recognizing and clearly saying that men can't become women and women can't become men. Not currently, anyway, technology-wise. And never by mere fiat, nor by "social construction."
   Anyway, I like Dreger (not that I actually know her); she seems smart and nice and I like her sense of humor. But her criticisms of the "intellectual dark web" are the thinnest gruel. As for pissing off progressives: the progressives in question deserve to be pissed off. If they're pissed off, it's because they are on the side of the people who want to silence rational criticism. Dreger sneakily writes as if their only goal and their only achievement is to piss people off. But surely she knows better than that. 
How is this really about intellectualism, darkness, or a special web? If these people are having conversations that are so rare "in the culture," how is it that they have millions of followers and pack auditoriums? (Is "the culture" The New York Times?)
Well...uh...their arguments are better than those of their opponents, and they are speaking in defense of the apolitical search for truth, as opposed to their opponents who are all, to one degree or another, on the side of Lysenko (to be blunt about it). It has nothing whatsoever to do with darkness or a web...but again, that's just a name. Don't play the PC niggle-about-names game. And the rarity argument is just sophistry. The perspective they are advocating is under siege in the culture. It's being shut out of universities, and those who advocate it are being physically attacked. Dreger's is a terrible argument. It could be deployed against any advocates of a suppressed, heterodox view: as soon as they're numerous enough to be noticed, their complaints can be dismissed. 
   Again, I respect Dreger. But I've always thought she was a bit wobbly on this stuff. Which means, of course, that my own principles demand that I pay attention to her. But her arguments here just don't seem very good to me.

Philosophy M*t*forum Still Down

DDoS? Some other nefarious doings of the philosophers against philosophy? Ants?

Sunday, May 13, 2018

Cathy Young: "The Problem With Candice Owens"

I'm a fan of Cathy Young, but her argument here just isn't good. Owens might be motivated too much by self-interest. I don't know. I don't know her. But she's often right. And that's good enough for me. I'm not all that interested in her motives.
   In particular, Young's argument is weak when it comes to the Zoe Quinn issue. Quinn has a well-documented history of lying, cheating, and more-or-less stealing. She's a kook and a crook heroified by the forces that created the Gamergate-Was-A-Campaign-of-Misogyny fairly tale. It sounds to me like Owens is right, and Quinn was behind the faux right-wing anti-Owens harassment.

Mark Lilla Is A Klansman For Blowing The Whistle On Identity Politics

Someone named Katherine Franke is an idiot.

Andrew Sullivan: Kanye West And The Question Of Freedom

Yet Another "Proof" That There Is No Free Speech Crisis On Campus!

Straining To Be Offended: Using 'They' Is Worse Something Something "Misgendering"

Just some incidental moonbattery I happened across. It's dumb, and it's dumb to link to it, and it's dumb to read it.
Don't be dumb.

85% Of Americans Think Free Speech Is More Important Than Political Correctness

Says Rasmussen

Inequality and Populism

From the World Economic Forum.
Incidentally, I know nothing about economics.

Harper's Bizarre: Divorce Your Trump-Supportin' Spouse

Ta-Nahisi Coates: "I'm Not Black, I'm Kanye"

Wow this is just not good.
That's about the nicest thing I can think to say about. I still have a weird kind of semi-soft spot for Coates, even though he jumped the shark some time ago. He's a good writer when he's on--so there's something nicer, actually. Maybe the incidental themes in the essay are worthwhile...I dunno. I'm not terribly sharp about such things. But the key paragraph seems to be this one:
What Kanye West seeks is what Michael Jackson sought—liberation from the dictates of that we. In his visit with West, the rapper T.I. was stunned to find that West, despite his endorsement of Trump, had never heard of the travel ban. “He don’t know the things that we know because he’s removed himself from society to a point where it don’t reach him,” T.I. said. West calls his struggle the right to be a “free thinker,” and he is, indeed, championing a kind of freedom—a white freedom, freedom without consequence, freedom without criticism, freedom to be proud and ignorant; freedom to profit off a people in one moment and abandon them in the next; a Stand Your Ground freedom, freedom without responsibility, without hard memory; a Monticello without slavery, a Confederate freedom, the freedom of John C. Calhoun, not the freedom of Harriet Tubman, which calls you to risk your own; not the freedom of Nat Turner, which calls you to give even more, but a conqueror’s freedom, freedom of the strong built on antipathy or indifference to the weak, the freedom of rape buttons, pussy grabbers, and fuck you anyway, bitch; freedom of oil and invisible wars, the freedom of suburbs drawn with red lines, the white freedom of Calabasas.
God, what a wreck. I'm not going to wade into that mess. "White freedom"? Jesus, man! I don't pay any attention to West...and I'm on the verge of not paying any attention to Coates. I don't necessarily blame him. His progressive fans tend to fawn slavishly over everything he writes. It's got to make you lose your grip. If you can't get honest feedback, then it's extremely difficult to generate good stuff.
   As for West's "slavery was a choice"... Well, damn. What're you even going to say about that? I could imagine some sort of strained interpretation that might make that worth offering up as some sort of fodder for thought...but I'm not really interested in doing so. That's the kind of thing that could, as my father used to say, make the Pope cuss. So that's a kind of excusing condition in the vicinity, maybe. Bit I'm not going to take sides as between "slavery was a choice" and "white freedom."

McArdle: Berkeley Says Free Speech Is Under Attack Because Conservatives Provoke Progressives By Saying Politically Incorrect Things

You really can't make this stuff up.
   This reminds me of a talk I saw recently by an academician who had been the target of a vicious left-wing campaign to suppress her work, harass her, and ruin her career. The two explanatory hypotheses offered at the session: (i) something something Trump; (ii) something something the alt-right.

"The Rise Of Cat Men As An Antidote To Toxic Masculinity"

Needless to say, any use of the term 'toxic masculinity' unironically is a sure sign of crackpottery. But man, they're takin' it to the next level here.

Friedersdorf: "Judith Butler Overestimates The Power Of Hateful Speech"

Why The "STEAM" Fad In Schools Isn't About Better Education

This is great.
Mullarkey is, IMO, right on target with a lot of this.
Seriously worth a read.

Snopes Quotes "Sexuality Educator" On Asking Infants' Permission To Change Diapers; Denies She Said What She Said

I've been afraid for awhile now that Snopes might have gone over to the Dark Side. Here's some confirmation. I've complained about some of their rulings against Democrats in the past. But now I'm kinda worried about their overall orientation.
   Relevant details, quoting Snopes extensively:
Sexuality educator Deanne Carson said parents should ask a baby's permission before changing their diaper.
What Carson said, quoted by Snopes:
Carson: Yes, just about how to set up a culture of consent in their homes so “I’m going to change your nappy now, is that OK?” Of course a baby is not going to respond “yes, mum, that’s awesome, I’d love to have my nappy changed.”
But if you leave a space and wait for body language and wait to make eye contact then you’re letting that child know that their response matters.
Mostly false
Read more »

Saturday, May 12, 2018

John Kelly Wants To Keep Out Illegal Immigrants But His Family Was Immigrants!!!!!!111

   An extended tu quoque by one Philip Bump. Note the now-standard conflation of immigrant and illegal immigrant.
   And whatever you do, don't look at the depressing, unhinged comments. I've said for years that many progressives have a covert open borders position. The comments clearly indicate that this is true.
   Kelly, to some extent, brings this nonsense on himself by bringing up the question of language. Forget that. The point to make over and over is: immigrants are welcome, but only if they enter legally. That's his real point, but it gets lost in the irrelevant dust-up over his comments about speaking English.

Friday, May 11, 2018

I Just Realized That Michael Cohen Is/Was The Really Dumb Pro-Trump Guy On Cable News

He's this guy!
Jesus Christ, that guy is a buffoon!
I don't watch cable news anymore--ever. But I was still watching it up to the election. Of all the pro-Trump morons that inhabited cable news during the election, this guy was the absolute dumbest IMO. Like, painfully dumb.
And I'd somehow not seen a pic of the guy that allowed me to recognize that the dumb cable dude was the money-laundering dude (or whatever it is that you call whatever it is that he did).
Holy crap, I'm amazed by this.

Thursday, May 10, 2018

"Sexuality Expert": Ask Babies For Consent Before Changing Their Diapers

To establish a "culture of consent" at home, OBVS...GAH...I can't even believe you people have to be TOLD this stuff.
   Repeat after me: the logic of the cultural left requires it to ceaselessly push toward ever more insanely insane positions. 
   The cultural left is like the Christians I grew up with...but without the constraints of a holy text. So instead of engaging in ever-more-fine-grained textual exegesis, they try to spin out ever more consistent extensions and free-form interpretations of their unwritten, impressionistic, crackpot views. These are formal Roman acts of manumission. They don't needn't be just have to go through the right motions (use the right stick, say the right words). Me quaerere te consentiunt! 
   Seriously, if you're not convinced by now that the moonbats are certifiable, I'm really not sure what you're waiting for. White after Labor Day? Red wine with fish? What?

Will: "Donald Trump Is No Longer The Worst Person In Government"

Last June, a Trump Cabinet meeting featured testimonials offered to Dear Leader by his forelock-tugging colleagues. His chief of staff, Reince Priebus, caught the spirit of the worship service by thanking Trump for the “blessing” of being allowed to serve him. The hosannas poured forth from around the table, unredeemed by even a scintilla of insincerity. Priebus was soon deprived of his blessing, as was Tom Price. Before Price’s ecstasy of public service was truncated because of his incontinent enthusiasm for charter flights, he was the secretary of health and human services who at the Cabinet meeting said, “I can’t thank you enough for the privileges you’ve given me.” The vice president chimed in but saved his best riff for a December Cabinet meeting when, as The Post’s Aaron Blake calculated, Pence praised Trump once every 12 seconds for three minutes: “I’m deeply humbled. . . . ” Judging by the number of times Pence announces himself “humbled,” he might seem proud of his humility, but that is impossible because he is conspicuously devout and pride is a sin.

Trump is what he is, a floundering, inarticulate jumble of gnawing insecurities and not-at-all compensating vanities, which is pathetic. Pence is what he has chosen to be, which is horrifying.

"STEAM": Academia Is Now Officially Beyond Parody

STEM fields getting a bunch of money, and the rest of us have to salivatingly watch that gravy train pass us by?
   Not enough women in STEM?
   There must be a way of skinning two cats with one stone...
   There is!
   Introducing "STEAM" = Science, Technology, Engineering, Arts (+ Design!), and Math!
   This is such a goddamned stupid idea that I refuse to even argue against it. If you made this up in a novel parodying academia, you'd be ridiculed. Utterly implausible! Cranky, artless, right-wing academia-bashing!
   Honestly, this is a reductio. If this bullshit "STEAM" thing doesn't trigger your intellectual gag reflex, then there's nothing I can do. There is no reductio more more obvious than the actual facts of this academic abomination. Res ipsa loquitur.

AAUP Says Nebraska Denied Due Process To Grad Student Who Heckled Activist

   A couple of things:
   First, the AAUP can no longer be trusted. It's been converged. Their emails are now commonly full of PC lunacy. They rarely make a peep about the direct, pervasive, internal left-wing threats to academic freedom and freedom of expression; but they blow threats from the right fantastically out of proportion--oh no! Somebody made a list of liberal professors! To the barricades! Funny how violently shutting down conservative speakers is just differently expressing one's ideas...but merely publicizing the content of a professor's class is a grave threat to academic freedom... I've got a right mind to join again so that I can quit in a huff...
   Second, they (the AAUP) might, of course, very well be right about this one. We're not given enough information to tell. I don't actually know what the rules are like here. Do institutions normally consult the faculty senate about such things? I know that an adjunct at my school was fired forever on the basis of third-person, hearsay accusations about something he allegedly said. The accusation was made by members of a non-Christian religious minority. So far as we could tell, they were not investigated to any appreciable extent. The adjunct was simply told never to come back. Not that that case should serve as a paradigm of fair treatment, obviously...
   To know what to say about the Nebraska case, we'd have to read the relevant provisions of their faculty handbook...which, of course, we're not going to do. Hell, I don't even read our faculty handbook...
   At any rate, I discussed this case before. The grad student in question is an extremist tool and an idiot. But even tools and idiots deserve due process.

Honestly, the academy is a wreck. I honestly would have predicted that academicians would have been more resistant to groupthink. I now worry that they're actually more susceptible to it.

Wednesday, May 09, 2018

The APA's "Statement On Bullying"

Leiter points us back to one of the signs of the philosophical apocalypse that'd I'd actually forgotten about: the APA's facepalmerific "statement on bullying."
My God. Everybody at least from Socrates and at least up to Peirce is spinning in his/her/xir grave.
Honestly, these people can barely even be called philosophers. When you want to place political constraints on philosophical inquiry (and that is what they want), you're out of the goddamn club, you wankers.
Also BL links to this excellent whatsis, by Crispin Sartwell.
To emphasize the point: the APA has been captured by antiphilosophers. Neanderthal that I apparently am, that concerns me.

Chait: "Russian Leverage Over Trump Is Not Just A Theory. It's Now Fact."

Coupla things:
First and foremost: holy crap.
Also something: Jonathan Chait doesn't seem to know what the word 'fact' means.
Nevertheless: holy crap.
If the anti-Trumpistas, including the media, were not so nutty and dishonest, I'd be tempted to revert to an argument I used to accept, i.e.: it almost doesn't matter, in a case like this, whether the President is innocent or guilty. In a case like this, in which we obviously can't prove his innocence beyond a reasonable doubt, he's got to go. Not got to jail, obviously. But: be put out of office. We can't be fiddling around with niceties here. I still doubt the collusion story--but I don't care that much whether it's true or false. If I need brain surgery, and there are credible accusations of incompetence against Dr. Smith, I'm not going to sink two years into investigation, nor am I going to care that much if the case is too murky to decide for sure. Credible accusations ==> I'm out. (Though that policy would open us up to meddling of a different kind...)
   But I'm just shooting my keyboard off. Officially, I'm still just waiting on Mueller's conclusions.

Larry Elder Converts Dave Rubin

You might want to watch this before YouTube declares it hate speech / a threat to the community / doubleplus naughty.

Ben And Jerry Want To Social Justice You Up

But probably ought to stick to making ice cream
Thing about this stuff is that there are real issues buried in there under the cultish rhetoric. Well, that's one thing about this stuff, anyway. The cultish rhetoric is another thing. And it's a mistake to ignore all that. There are real issues buried in all sorts of crazy theories. Having some fragments of truth embedded somewhere in your theory isn't good enough for most purposes.
Looking forward, though, to the introduction of Chunky Che and whatnot.

Tuesday, May 08, 2018

NRA Chooses The Traitorous Ollie North As Its President

Jesus. H. Christ.
   I had honestly started to become alarmed enough that, for the first time in like 20 years, I started wondering whether I should reconsider my opposition to the NRA. Possibly even join up again. I'd started to wonder whether it might be the lesser of the relevant evils.
   Thanks, NRA, for slapping some sense into me. You crazy ****er ****ers.
   If there'd been an NRA in the 1790s, I guess its president would have been Benedict Arnold. No, wait...Arnold doesn't deserve to be compared to North. Arnold won damn Saratoga for us. North's never done anything positive for us. (Though, in fairness...North never plotted to surrender West Point to the Soviets...)

Turns Out That The Kochs Have Less Power At Mason Than The Post Led Us To Believe

Whether the amount of power they actually do have is in line with the powers such donors commonly have...I do not know. But as long as it is, it's fine with me. I don't mind the Kochs, anyway. Of course: it doesn't matter what I think about them. All that matters is that everything is within specs.

If You Like "Bush Kept Us Safe"...'re gonna love...:
Rudy "a noun, a verb, and 9/11" Giuliani...:
"...Before Obama came along, we didn’t have any successful radical Islamic terrorist attack inside the United States."
(Actually, he said "In those eight years before Obama" etc. etc., in case you think that makes an important difference.)
You see, all the successful attacks were under Clinton and Obama! None at all under any Republicans! None!
How are these jackasses still getting away with saying shit like this?

Larison: The Stupidity Of Reneging On The Iran Nuclear Deal

Withdrawing from the JCPOA is a huge unforced error and self-inflicted wound whose full costs we won’t realize until later, and it represents a serious setback to the cause of nonproliferation. Trump is walking away from a deal that got the U.S. almost everything it wanted at virtually no cost, and he is doing it mainly because it allows him to repudiate his predecessor’s work. It is a perfect example of putting petty self-interest and pique ahead of the interests of the United States, and it has absolutely nothing to do with putting America first.
And on top of that, we screw over Iranian moderates yet again.
Seriously, whenever I meet someone from Iran I expect them to hate us...but none of them I've met actually have. Though obviously Iranians in the U.S. are not a representative sample.
I'd probably hate us.

"Toxic Masculinity"

The illiberal left's jargon is weirdly, consistently off-putting. ("Toxic" is a good example; there's a another word I have almost had to strike from my vocabulary, even in its literal uses.) And they're that's a problem. And the anti-male sexism / misandry is strong in them. And so on. And, as per usual, the jargon isn't mere jargon; it is used to convey their theory about what sucks about men. Hint: basically everything.
   However, everybody knows that lots of men suck in certain ways that are rather general and not purely individual. Masculinity goes right in important and well-known ways (standard nod to Will Kane in High Noon); it also goes wrong in important and well-known ways (bullies, rapists, serial killers, Stalin). Guys find out that some guys are psychos pretty early on in life--earlier than girls do, I'd bet. In fact, if my life is at all representative, the first fifteen years or so of an average guy's life are largely spent learning to deal with / stomp members of the crazy segment of the male population. Good masculinity involves strength in the service of good ends; crazy psycho Neanderthal masculinity involves violence for...I dunno...whatever the hell those guys are aiming at.
   Anyway, the point is just that "toxic masculinity" could be seen as a stupid way to express an exaggerated and distorted version of a real problem. The illiberal left loves the tactic of spewing loaded neologisms all over the place, encouraging the generally sympathetic cultural superstructure (academia, the media, etc.) to adopt them, thus semi-covertly propagating ideas that can seem not-too-radical if you don't know too much about them. I'd certainly say not to overlook the actual problem of masculinity gone wrong...though I'd also suggest coining some new terminology that can quickly express the non-crazy version of the idea in question. I don't think it's really possible to wring all the stupid out of the term "toxic masculinity."

Sanity Strikes Back?: The "Intellectual Dark Web"

This is real cause for hope, I think!: the individual intellectual celebrities that have been fighting the illiberal left seem to be morphing into a kind of alliance.
   It's a dopey name ("intellectual dark web")...but it could be a whole lot worse (e.g. "brights." Egad. Better to let totalitarianism win). It's not great to see personalities rather than ideas being emphasized. And it's the NYT, so there's the standard bias (e.g. the argumentum ad Murryam).
   But it's something!

Monday, May 07, 2018

White Dude In Confederate Flag Regalia Stops On Highway To Change Tire For Black Family: White Supremacy!

This kind of idiocy is hardly even worth documenting anymore. Notice the suggestion that the good Samaritan in question hasn't already stopped maintaining "systematic" "white supremacy." Notice also that the PC/SJWs typically tell us that that's not something that individuals really do, anyway--hence the "systematic"--a.k.a. "structural"--part.
   But that stuff's a religion. So there's not much sense trying to make sense of it.
   Which is not, of course, to say that there aren't some ways in which blacks are more-or-less systematically discriminated against. Nor that I don't think that the good Samaritan in question might ought to reconsider his Confederate-themed wardrobe. Nor is it to say anything else that I didn't say.

Sunday, May 06, 2018

Black Gun-Owner Will Give Birth In Prison After Trying To Protect Daughter From Assailant

If Reason's account is correct and fairly complete, then this case makes no goddamn sense whatsoever.

Lawyer Claims Canadian Bill C-16 *Does* Make Nonstandard Pronoun Use Legally Mandatory

She might be mistaken, or lying in an effort to goad people into doing complying with transgender ideology. But, OTHO, Peterson could be right. Does anyone really doubt that there will be efforts to force this nonsense onto people? She also deploys a fair number of fallacies commonly used to support transgender ideology.

Friday, May 04, 2018

Longsword Close Fighting

Cassie Jaye: Meeting The Enemy: A Feminist Comes To Terms With The Men's Right's Movement

This is great.
   And I don't really mean the first-order stuff...which is really great. I mean the second-order stuff about really trying to understand your "enemy," whoever that might be.
   And, yes, m*ther F*cker, I realize full well that I don't practice what she's preaching. I'm not f*cking stupid.

Drum: Trump: Too Many Lies To Keep Track Of

Honestly, I've stopped even trying the little bit I was trying there for awhile..
Which is irresponsible, because that's what shameless liars want you to do. If they can just keep a cloud of words in the air long enough, they know everybody who isn't a committed partisan will get bored or confused or bored and confused and fall to the wayside.
   I'll admit, this all does, yet again--or still--raise the excellent question several of you guys keep pushing: if he's innocent, why does he act so goddamn guilty?

Michael Shindler: "John Bolton: In Search Of Carthage"

...Two peculiar characteristics set Bolton apart from most folks in D.C.: an unabashedly luxurious mustache and an unmatched penchant for unjustified preemptive violence....   
A comparatively irenic vision pervades the philosophy of the founders. James Wilson, in his Lectures on Law, wrote that when a nation “is under an obligation to preserve itself and its members; it has…a right to do everything” that it can “without injuring others.” In Federalist 4, John Jay advised that the American people ought to support steps that would “put and keep them in such a situation as, instead of inviting war, will tend to repress and discourage it.” And in his Farewell Address, George Washington asserted that the United States should be “always guided by an exalted justice and benevolence.”      A preemptive nuclear strike justified on the flimsy basis of “gaps in U.S. intelligence” hardly seems concordant with such military restraint and “exalted justice.” And lest it be thought these ideals were mere lofty notions, consider how, as American history proceeded, they became enshrined in American diplomacy.
   In 1837, Canadian rebels sailing aboard the Caroline fled to an island in the Niagara River with the help of a few American citizens. British forces boarded their ship, killed an American member of the crew, and then set the Caroline ablaze before forcing it over Niagara Falls. Enraged, American and Canadian raiders destroyed a British ship. Several attacks followed until the crisis was at last ended in 1842 by the Webster-Ashburton Treaty. In the aftermath, the Caroline test was established, which stipulates that an attack made in self-defense is justifiable only when, in the words of Daniel Webster, the necessity is “instant, overwhelming, and leaving no choice of means, and no moment for deliberation.” This principle remains the international standard, though some like Bolton think it’s outdated.

Reuters: "U.S. Judge Questions Special Counsel's Powers In Manafort Case"

“I don’t see what relationship this indictment has with anything the special counsel is authorized to investigate,” U.S. District Judge T.S. Ellis in the Eastern District of Virginia said.

Serwer: "Giuliani's Defense Only Intensifies The Legal Risks For Trump"

Oh, what a tangled web we weave...

Sebastian Cesario: "Unconscious Bias Training As A Management Tool"

This is consistent with my experience--though I've never been pushed to undergo such "training." And certainly not as punishment for making politically incorrect hiring decisions. So I'd have to add: but not so much with respect to the main thesis.
   But it's true, as everyone knows, that there is significant pressure to hire non-white-males. My own department always abides by a tie goes to a non-white-male policy. Except: in one search, many years ago, the dean ordered us to hire a woman. We were outright told not to consider dossiers from men. We were recently forced to undergo a voluntary diversity conversation. I considered refusing, and, were it to happen again, I probably would refuse. But I had bigger fish to fry at the time, and didn't want to cause any more trouble for the department than I ordinarily cause. I'm glad I went in that I got to hear us be told the following: non-white candidates are not more scarce in the candidate pool than white candidates; you just have to look harder for them. I ain't even making that up. I should add, however: I complained a lot about the cult of "diversity," both during the meeting and after it, to the two guys who ran it. They were reasonable and receptive to my concerns. Honestly, I was impressed by how reasonable they were about it. I really can't stress that enough.

Ronald Brownstein: State Funding To Universities Is Sort Of Decreasing Because The Hate "Kids Of Color"

   God, what crap.
Small-government ideology undoubtedly explains part of this shift. But more academic leaders are openly questioning whether other motivations are contributing to it, too. Michael Sorrell, the dynamic and innovative president of Paul Quinn College, a historically black college in Dallas, is one of them. “There’s an argument to be made that part of the reason we see a reduction in support is because the legislators are looking at the students and not seeing themselves,” he told me at an Atlantic education-policy summit this week. “Listen, it could be an unlikely happenstance that people are reducing the support of public education when the students are increasingly diverse and increasingly low-income. Maybe.”
Ah, the old "some people are asking" argument, together with speculation about the motives of your political enemies. Is there a shittier combination of arguments?
   There's no mention of the fact that college costs are going through the roof. Given that, we'd predict that states would provide a smaller share of their funding. We're not told what funding looks like in absolute dollars. We're not told whether higher ed funding has suffered in comparison to, say, infrastructure spending.
   Furthermore, I rather think that public funding for higher ed ought to decrease. My own university has become a bloated behemoth, packed to the gills with frills and baubles and and restaurants and coffee shops, para-faculty and shadow administrators and petty quasi-counselors. Here we only hear about basically three things: (a) "diversity and inclusion," (b) career training, and (c) "engagement," our institution's newest idiotic obsession. We've basically become an organization for the promotion of leftist ideas packaged up by marketers and represented as the uncontroversial opinions of every right-thinking person. "Engagement" is a new "rubric" (a beloved word hereabouts) for the promotion of (a) lower academic standards and (b) progressive causes. It's another way of shifting our emphasis away from scholarly pursuits and in the direction of (as they say) "relevance." And that means: politically-valenced classes and community service. Guess which end of the spectrum those things tend to lean toward?
   Eh, I'm just fed up with this place. You can't go entirely on my perspective. Especially not right now.
   But: one might consider this response to Brownstein: maybe there is a link between more "kids of color" (eyeroll) and lower funding: both are brought about, in part, by the leftward politicization of universities. 

Defensive Gun Use: Kleck, With A Response By DeFilippis And Hughes

Also link
   I'm somewhat skeptical about alleged high rates of defensive gun use, especially away from the home, especially by people without a CCW. But, then, I don't think the question do guns do more harm than good? matters all that much. The government has no right to disarm us. Period. I have little doubt that alcohol does more harm than good. That doesn't give the government the right to take our booze. And, hell, the right to keep and bear booze isn't even Constitutionally protected.
   To some extent, it seems like the same old struggle between different views of state power. One side sees us as free and independent persons first and foremost, and sees government as something that rightfully has a rather limited role in regulating our actions. The other side sees government as primary and pervasive, a force that should regulate wherever it can, perhaps leaving a few spaces open for free, largely unregulated interactions among citizens. For some of my life, my political positions only made sense if I was illicitly seeing things the latter way. But officially I've always seen things as the Founders did--i.e. in the former way. They rejected the latter view, and so do I.
   But none of that, of course, is relevant to interesting questions about defensive gun use.

Mandy Statmiller: "Sympathy For The Incel"

Wow, this is really interesting.
   First, I've somehow been oblivious to this van attack in Toronto, and to the conclusion that it was aimed at women and perpetrated by an incel. I kinda heard something about it, but it just didn't make it fully onto my radar. If true: Jesus Christ. Second, I've not paid much attention to incels. I've tended to be rather skeptical of all that men's rights / red pill sort of thing...even though I've been starting to suspect that it's not as crazy as I'd assumed. JQ sort of read a bit about it and concluded that there were a lot of crazies in it, but didn't look any farther into it.
   Anyway, that's a good article, and worth reading, I think. I do agree that the cultural superstructure is largely oblivious to the challenges faced by men. When things come into focus in a certain way, it certainly does seem as if the message is: women are good; men are bad; many men aim to harm women; all men benefit from this harm; if a man and a woman both do x, the woman's accomplishment is twice as impressive, since men have so many advantages; women deserve to be given advantages over men at every point in order to compensate for the illicit advantages that all men enjoy. And so on. All those themes are out there, anyway. I have no doubt that something like the opposite picture can come into focus pretty readily to women.
   The subject of the article was basically tortured in school, and some of his prime antagonists were apparently female. I have no doubt that sort of thing would stick with you. Contempt is powerful. Lots of teenagers are little psychopaths. Also, his only girlfriend abused him. Anyway...dude really has had a bad time of it, to say the least. His withdrawal from society is entirely understandable.
   Anyway: interesting read.